4 open source productivity tools on my wishlist | Opensource.com

4 open source productivity tools on my wishlist

Find out what the open source world needs to work on in the final article in our series on 20 ways to be more productive with open source in 2020.

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Last year, I brought you 19 days of new (to you) productivity tools for 2019. This year, I'm taking a different approach: building an environment that will allow you to be more productive in the new year, using tools you may or may not already be using.

But what about…

When searching for productivity apps, I never find everything I want, and I almost always miss something great that my readers share with me. So, as I bring this series to a close, it's time again to talk about some of the topics I failed to cover in this year's series.

Chatting in Vim

I tried. I really, really tried to get chat to work in Vim, but it was not to be. The one package I was able to find, VimIRC.vim, never did work for me, and I tried for a few days to no avail. The other option I explored was Irc it, which requires a lot more effort to set up than I could fit into my available space or time. I tried, I really did, and for the Vim users out there, I'm sorry I wasn't able to get something workable for you.

Org mode

I love Org Mode, and I use it daily. I could spend several days just talking about Org. It provides basic task tracking; Google calendar sync and CalFW integration; rich text documents, websites, and presentations; linking to all the things; and; and; and…

I expect you will hear more from me about Org in 2020 because it really is pretty cool.

GUI programs

In 2019's productivity series, I shared a lot of programs with a graphical user interface (GUI), and this year almost all are command-line applications. There are some great graphical programs to help with some of the things I talked about this year—mail programs to talk to Maildir mailboxes, calendar programs to read local calendar files, weather apps, and so on. I even tried several new-to-me things to see if they would fit with the overall theme. With the exception of twin, I didn't feel that there were any GUI programs that were new (to me) or notable (again, to me) to write about this year. And that brings me to…


More and more people are using tablets (sometimes in conjunction with a laptop) as their primary device. I use my phone for most of my social media and instant messaging, and, more often than not, I use my tablet (OK, let's be honest, tablets) to read or browse the web. It isn't that open source mobile apps aren't out there, that's for sure, but they didn't fit with my themes this year. There is a lot going on with open source and mobile apps, and I'm watching carefully for things that can help me be more productive on my phone and tablet.

Your turn

Thank you very much for reading the series this year. Please comment with what you think I missed or need to look at for 2021. And as I say on the Productivity Alchemy podcast: "Remember folks: Stay productive!"

Document sending

Manage your email and view your schedule with the Emacs text editor in the eighteenth in our series on 20 ways to be more productive with open source in 2020.
Chat via email

Handle your to-do list and get social from the text editor in the seventeenth in our series on 20 ways to be more productive with open source in 2020.
Person using a laptop

BitlBee brings multiple chat applications into a single interface. Find out how to set up and use BitlBee in the ninth in our series on 20 ways to be more productive with open source in 2020.


About the author

Kevin Sonney - Kevin Sonney is a technology professional, media producer, and podcaster. A Linux Sysadmin and Open Source advocate, Kevin has over 25 years in the IT industry, with over 15 years in Open Source. He currently works as an SRE at elastic. Kevin hosts the weekly Productivity Alchemy Podcast. He and his wife, author and illustrator Ursula Vernon, co-host the weekly podcast...